Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The incidence of internal trafficking is higher than that of transnational trafficking, and is usually facilitated by family members, friends, or intermediaries who offer assistance with education or finding lucrative employment in urban areas. The exploitation of young girls in domestic servitude continues to be Tanzania’s largest human trafficking problem, though cases of child trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation are increasing along the Kenya-Tanzania border. Girls are exploited in sex trafficking in tourist areas within the country. Boys are subjected to forced labor, primarily on farms, but also in mines, in the informal commercial sector, in the sex trade, and possibly on small fishing boats. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults are trafficked—often by other Tanzanians—into conditions of domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sex trafficking in other countries, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and possibly other African, Middle Eastern, and European countries. Trafficking victims from other countries—typically children from Burundi and Kenya, as well as adults from Bangladesh, Nepal, Yemen, and India—are forced to work in Tanzania’s agricultural, mining, and domestic service sectors; some are also subjected to sex trafficking. Citizens of neighboring countries may voluntarily migrate through Tanzania before being forced into domestic service and prostitution in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
The Government of Tanzania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government convicted four international labor traffickers and continued to refer identified child trafficking victims to NGOs to receive care. In one successful case, it awarded four adult victims financial compensation from fines imposed upon a convicted trafficker. However, it failed to adequately punish offenders with sentences commensurate to the seriousness of the crimes committed, and there were reports that Tanzanian diplomats failed to assist Tanzanian citizens exploited abroad. Insufficient overall efforts to protect victims limited the government’s ability to pursue successful law enforcement action against traffickers, and front-line officials’ inability to distinguish between trafficking and smuggling led to some victims being punished. The government did not provide services or referrals for any adult victims of trafficking. The government’s anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat, which were established at the close of the previous reporting period, took few actions during the year to implement the national action plan; the promise of the coordinating bodies and action plan had gone unrealized. The government did not provide evidence of continued anti-trafficking training for new police officers or a coordinated public awareness campaign about the dangers of trafficking. For a fourth year, it failed to allocate funding to the victims’ assistance fund established by the 2008 anti-trafficking act. The Government of Tanzania did not demonstrate evidence of overall increasing efforts to combat trafficking since the previous reporting period; therefore, Tanzania is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for Tanzania: Increase efforts to enforce the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act by prosecuting and convicting trafficking offenses, and applying stringent penalties—including jail time, as appropriate—to convicted trafficking offenders; implement the act’s victim protection and prevention provisions, including by allocating resources to the victim assistance fund; establish policies and procedures for government officials to identify and interview potential trafficking victims—including adults—among vulnerable groups proactively and transfer them, as appropriate, to local organizations providing care; begin compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level; provide training to judges, prosecutors, and police to clarify the difference between human trafficking and alien smuggling; allocate a budget for the anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat to implement the national action plan; provide additional training to law enforcement authorities on the detection and methods of investigating human trafficking crimes; and institute standard operating procedures for trafficking victim identification and victim care provision for labor officials and diplomatic personnel working at Tanzanian missions overseas.
The Tanzanian government made modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act outlaws all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of one to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both; penalties which are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. However, a provision allowing offenders to pay a fine in lieu of serving prison time allows for a penalty that is not proportionate to the crime and such a fine does not provide an adequate deterrent to potential perpetrators of trafficking offenses. Authorities reported initiating investigations into four cases under the 2008 Act over the last year. Seven trafficking cases were prosecuted, including two new cases and five which continued from the previous year. Three of these prosecutions were withdrawn or dismissed due to lack of victims’ testimony, and three others resulted in convictions of four individuals for international labor trafficking. However, punishments imposed on the convicted offenders were inadequate for the serious nature of the crimes committed; all four received fines without jail time. One case, in which a group of children between the ages of eight and 15 were recruited from rural regions and rescued in Zanzibar while en route to the Middle East by boat, remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. Despite the government’s progress in holding some traffickers accountable, law enforcement and judicial officials’ lack of understanding continued to create an environment in which trafficking occurred with impunity or was classified as a minor offense. The government did not allocate funding to provide specialized anti-trafficking training to officials during the year; as a result, training that had occurred in previous years for newly-hired officers was reportedly discontinued. The government made no progress in compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level, instead relying upon IOM’s partial data for statistics about human trafficking. The Government of Tanzania did not report any investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offences during the reporting period.
The Tanzanian government’s efforts to protect victims of trafficking were limited during the year. Key victim protection provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking act, such as the establishment of a fund to support trafficking victims, remained unimplemented. The government continued to rely on NGOs to provide care for victims and NGO-run facilities were limited to urban areas. The sole government-run children’s shelter was often filled to capacity; it is unknown whether it accommodated any trafficking victims during the year. The Department of Social Welfare assisted in the family reunification of five trafficked children, though the majority of victim services were provided by NGOs. The government did not take measures to proactively identify victims among vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children crossing the border or individuals in prostitution. Public hospitals provided free treatment to victims from one NGO shelter, which also received modest in-kind contributions of medical supplies from the government. The government had in place a systematic referral method which specifies police, Department of Social Welfare, and NGOs be notified of all potential cases, but this often did not function effectively. During the year, observers did note an increase in registration of cases, indicating greater collaboration between law enforcement, the Department of Social Welfare, and NGO service providers. The government referred an unknown number of child victims to IOM and NGOs to receive care; it did not, however, have procedures in place for referral of adult victims, and there were no reports of adult victims receiving assistance or referral from the government during the year. NGOs reported providing services to 49 victims.
The government failed to ensure that victims were not punished for crimes committed as a result of their being trafficked; identified foreign victims were, at times, detained in prisons or deported, and victims not properly identified may have been convicted of immigration violations. Furthermore, the lack of national procedures for victim identification and law enforcement officers’ failure to distinguish between smuggling and trafficking likely led to unidentified victims being treated as law violators. There are reports that some Tanzanian diplomatic missions did not provide protections to Tanzanian citizens exploited overseas. In one case, a mission failed to expeditiously process a victim’s travel documents. In a separate case, an outstanding settlement from a U.S. court judgment levied against a Tanzanian diplomat who had been posted to Washington, D.C., was not paid during the reporting year. The government neither encouraged nor discouraged victims from participating in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but many were reluctant to do so; three legal cases were withdrawn or dismissed due to lack of victims’ testimony. In a positive development, the government for the first time awarded compensation to four victims, funded from the fine levied against one convicted trafficker. The victim assistance fund established by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, however, continues to remain unfunded. The act provides foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where their safety or the safety of their families may be endangered; no victims received this immigration relief during the reporting period.
The government made minimal efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. The anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat established during the previous reporting year continued to operate, but they lacked budgets and took few actions. These bodies’ presence outside any ministry’s existing structure limited their ability to secure funding. In an indication of the relatively low priority placed on anti-trafficking efforts by the government, the government diverted resources designated for the committee and secretariat, such as office space, to various agencies for other purposes. The government failed to implement its national anti-trafficking action plan and, unlike previous years, did not conduct any public awareness campaigns about the dangers of trafficking. The government included child trafficking victims in a five-year plan for vulnerable children. The government made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts during the reporting period. The government did not report providing specialized anti-trafficking training to Tanzanian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.